The Miami Heat (seeded N.8) took a first option in the Eastern Conference final of the NBA play-offs by going to win in the game N.1 in Boston (seeded N.2 ) 123-116, Wednesday.
In the wake of Jimmy Butler, author of 35 points, and thanks to a third quarter of fire, the Miami Heat signed a first victory in the series, against the Celtics who had beaten them last season at the same stage of the play -offs.
The reunion between two teams who had already met at the same stage of the play-offs in 2022, but also in 2021 where this time Miami had taken over in the Orlando bubble, has therefore turned in favor for the moment. Floridians.
The Celtics seemed to be off to a good start in this N.1 match, however: after winning the first two quarters, they had a nine-point lead at the halfway point (56-47).
The Heat then moved up a gear: the players coached by Erik Spoelstra took everything in their path in the third quarter which they won 46 to 25.
The Celtics did try to react late in the game, but the Heat then gritted their teeth in defense.
In this meeting, Butler, in addition to his 35 points, had seven assists and six steals, and took five rebounds.
Bam Adebayo assisted him well by scoring 20 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry added 15 points each.
Miami more skillful
“Look at the group of players we have,” Butler said after the victory of a strong and balanced team. “So many guys are participating in so many different ways!”
Jayson Tatum, the Celtics gunner, who scored 51 points in game N.7 of the semi-final series won by his team against the Philadelphia 76ers, this time could only score 30. And he was also guilty of two loose balls at the end of the game, when Boston managed to come back to Miami, which tightened the bolts.
To win at TD Garden, Miami also showed superior skill to that of its opponent, notably returning 16 of its 31 three-point shots (51.6% success), against ten out of 39 only for the Celtics (34.5%).
“We did our job tonight, but another game awaits us on Friday,” said Butler, who does not ignite as the N.2 game already awaits them on Friday, still at TD Garden in Boston.
The first team to four wins in this series will advance to the Grand Finals, where they will face the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets, who lead 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals.